I have heard a lot of facts over the years about the lasting effect of first impressions. Like when you are going to eat at a new restaurant and the bathroom is dirty, YUK! Or how about going to an office setting and the person working the front desk is just plain rude to you. That can really change the experience that you would have had, no one would argue otherwise.
In the same spirit, your website is your online first impression and spending some time and resources on this has proven time and time again to be money and time well spent. Statistics have shown that almost all internet users are now researching a business online before they ever step foot in the door or pick up the phone. This being known, it goes without saying that having a quality website, that is useful and gives the user a great first impression of your business is a must!
Now I certainly am not advocating that anyone break the bank on a nice site. Those who have done research know that there are options all over the price and quality spectrum. There are free sites and cheap sites and then sites that are extremely costly and many SMB’s do not understand the difference, and either over spend or end up with a low quality product to save money. These tips will help to give some insights of what your website should do for you. Although all businesses and needs for websites are different these are some basic principles that apply across the board.
- What do you do? – Seems obvious right? This question should be easily addressed when landing on your site. Think of an elevator pitch for your business and this is your homepage. Of course more detail is often needed and that can happen on other pages of the site, but it should be quick and easy to discern what your company offers.
- How can I contact/find you? – Another no brainer that I have seen overlooked over and over again. There should be multiple different avenues to contact the business with questions. In this day in age some people are more comfortable with e-mail, so make sure that the contact form is linked with an e-mail address that is checked frequently. Phone number should be prominently listed and links to any social media sites should be homepage material as well. Not to mention the business address or locations.
- Why would I use you? – Though this seems the same as “what do you do”, it is just a little different. There should be information easily accessible that shows value and helps to qualify customers and leads for you. If you offer a low cost alternative, make sure that people know it and can learn that fact quickly. If you sell $10,000 watches make sure that you do not get bogged down with people looking for $10 watches (like me J).
- Is your page visually attractive? – Remember that age old adage “dress for success”? Well it applies to your website as well. If it is cluttered or has bad images or just looks plain cheap, your business will be reflected as such in the digital world. Again, not advocating that anyone needs to break the bank, just make sure that your site is a good representation of the quality of your product or business because it is being judged that way by the people using it.
Whether you are putting a website together for the first time or redesigning a site, keep these basic rules in mind to make sure you are on the right track. Make sure that your budget is not stretched too thin with things you do not need, because high quality images, video, or other visual content will do wonders for your website. Also, make sure your message is clear, concise, and well written. Remember what Mom told you “first impressions last a lifetime”!